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Recognising rheumatoid arthritis

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Inflammation in joints Inflammation in the small joints of the hands leads to swelling, stiffness and pain, and deformity in established disease

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic, progressive auto-immune disease. The prevalence of RA in England is around 1.4%, meaning that 580,000 people aged 16 years and over have RA, and there are 26,000 new cases diagnosed each year. The condition affects two to three times as many women as men and it is most commonly diagnosed after the age of 40, although it can affect all ages.1

Almost half (45%) of people with RA are of working age when diagnosed. Early recognition of symptoms and immediate referral leading to timely diagnosis and holistic management is needed to optimise outcomes.

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